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JOYOUS AND THANKFUL (1 THESS. 1:1-10) Lesson 4 for July 28, 2012
1)Greeting (v. 1) 2)Paul thanks God for the Thessalonians (v. 2) 3)Paul’s reasons for praise (v. 3-4) Your FAITH Your FAITH Your LOVE Your LOVE Your HOPE Your HOPE Your choice (v. 4) Your choice (v. 4) 4)How did they become worthy of praise? (v. 5-7) By the power of the Holy Spirit (v. 5) By the power of the Holy Spirit (v. 5) Imitating Paul and his collaborators (v. 6) Imitating Paul and his collaborators (v. 6) Becoming worthy of imitation (v. 7) Becoming worthy of imitation (v. 7) 5)Consequences of the Thessalonians’ faith (v. 8-10) An effective witnessing (v. 8) An effective witnessing (v. 8) Giving up the paganism (v. 9) Giving up the paganism (v. 9) Hope in the resurrection, the Second Coming and the Judgment (v. 19) Hope in the resurrection, the Second Coming and the Judgment (v. 19) (v. 3)
“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:1) “Although Paul associates Silas and Timothy with him, it is evident that Paul himself is the sole author of the epistle (chs. 2:18; 3:5; 4:13; 5:1, 23, 27). But he keeps Silas and Timothy in mind as he writes, and frequently uses the plural pronoun “we” throughout the five chapters of the epistle (chs. 1:2; 2:2; 3:1; 4:1; 5:12). His two companions undoubtedly endorsed all the admonition the apostle wrote under their names” (SDA Bible Commentary, on 1Ths. 1:1) Paul adds the Jewish greeting “peace” to the Greek expression “grace”. “Grace and peace”, describing an experience with Jesus.
“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers” (1 Thessalonians 1:2) Paul and his collaborators devoted time to prayer. In those moments they remembered the churches they had planted and prayed for them. Paul informed the Thessalonians that they were especially praying for them. Their prayer was a prayer of gratitude. In the next verses, he listed the reasons why he thanked God for them.
“Remembering without ceasing your work of FAITH, labor of LOVE, and patience of HOPE in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father” (1 Thessalonians 1:3) “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13) Paul emphasized those three Christian virtues in his letters, so it is obvious that he is grateful because the Thessalonians stood out in the three of them.
“Knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God” (1 Thessalonians 1:4) In the original text, Paul says that God has done an “election process”. Bible states that God loves everyone and He has chosen everyone for salvation (John 3:16; Joshua 24:15; Revelation 3:20; etc.) The Thessalonians responded to that divine election in a positive way. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
“For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake” (1 Thessalonians 1:5) “But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Gentiles foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:23) Although the men who preached the Gospel had been whipped and at jail in Philippi and they were preaching a Messiah that was unacceptable for them (to the Gentiles foolishness), the Thessalonians accepted the Gospel. The power of the Holy Spirit was shown in the believers’ changed lives. The reality of their faith was shown in their works.
“And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7) Jason and the other believers in Thessalonica suffered “much affliction” from the Jews when they accepted the Gospel. They imitated the example of Paul and his collaborators and endured the suffering with joy with the invaluable help of the Holy Spirit; that way they became example for other believers.
“For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything” (1 Thessalonians 1:8) When Paul wrote this epistle, he was in Corinth (region of Achaia) News in that time was quickly spread thanks to the great communication roads of the Roman Empire. The example of the Thessalonians spread like wildfire all over Macedonia and Achaia. “Their witness was so unequivocal that it was not necessary for Paul and his associates to add anything to it. Higher commendation could scarcely be given to the Thessalonians” (SDA Bible Commentary, on 1 Thessalonians 1:8)
“For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10) The example of the Thessalonians went beyond the way they overcame the difficulties. The way they gave up the paganism to convert to the true God was very outstanding. They were based in the belief of the Second Coming, the resurrection and the absolution in the divine Judgment. After praising their faith, Paul encouraged them to grow more in that faith.
The example of the Thessalonians encourages us to grow in the faith and in our missionary effort for others
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